Zack Steffen Wins 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year

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Zack Steffen
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 04: Columbus Crew goalkeeper Zack Steffen (23) points to where he wants the defender positioned in the MLS eastern conference semifinals game between the Columbus Crew SC and the New York Red Bulls on November 04, 2018 at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, OH. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Columbus, Ohio (November 6, 2018) — Zack Steffen is no longer the goalkeeper of the future for the USMNT. His impact is clearly being felt in the here and now.

The latest example came on Tuesday when Major League Soccer named him the league’s 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year for his exploits with his club team, Columbus Crew SC. He’s the second player in club history to win the award, joining Brad Friedel who did so in 1997.

Major League Soccer Names Zack Steffen 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year

Steffen, 23, is in his second season with Crew SC and is a crucial component to the club remaining alive for an MLS Cup in 2018. During the regular season, he compiled 10 clean sheets as part of a defense that finished tied for fourth in the league with 45 goals conceded.

Perhaps Steffen’s most impressive feat of the season began during his club’s 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on April 28. After conceding a goal in the 45th minute, he held the Quakes off the board the rest of the way. It was the start of a club record 525-minute scoreless streak that’s also the eighth-longest in league history.

The Downington, PA native joined the Black and Gold in 2017 after spending time with Bundesliga club Freiburg. He announced his arrival as a legit national team-caliber keeper when he held Atlanta United scoreless over 120 minutes and stood on his head during the ensuing penalty shootout. It precipitated a postseason run that nearly resulted in an appearance in MLS Cup.

One year later, he made a similar impact. After Crew SC and D.C. United played to a 2-2 draw through 120 minutes in last Thursday’s knockout round tie, he saved two shots during the resulting spot-kick duel to help secure his team’s spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals. One of them came against English goal-scoring legend Wayne Rooney.

Steffen showcased his shot-stopping quality once again three days later. His reaction save of a Bradley Wright-Phillips header in second-half stoppage time preserved a 1-0 win for Columbus against the New York Red Bulls in leg one of the conference semis.

The now firmly entrenched USMNT number one goalie can add to his growing legend with a standout performance in the second leg. That tie takes place this coming Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ with kickoff getting underway at 7:30 p.m. ET.

All-Time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Winners

2018: Zack Steffen, Columbus Crew SC
2017: Tim Melia, Sporting KC
2016: Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union
2015: Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls
2014: Bill Hamid, D.C. United
2013: Donovan Ricketts, Portland Timbers
2012: Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting KC
2011: Kasey Keller, Seattle Sounders FC
2010: Donovan Ricketts, LA Galaxy
2009: Zach Thornton, Chivas USA
2008: Jon Busch, Chicago Fire
2007: Brad Guzan, Chivas USA
2006: Troy Perkins, D.C. United
2005: Pat Onstad, San Jose Earthquakes
2004: Joe Cannon, Colorado Rapids
2003: Pat Onstad, San Jose Earthquakes
2002: Joe Cannon, San Jose Earthquakes
2001: Tim Howard, New York MetroStars
2000: Tony Meola, Kansas City Wizards
1999: Kevin Hartman, LA Galaxy
1998: Zach Thornton, Chicago Fire
1997: Brad Friedel, Columbus Crew
1996: Mark Dodd, Dallas Burn

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